Let’s make the other half heard.

I stand for gender equality.

I was never really into women’s studies and I never called myself feminist. I felt annoyed by this topic, especially because we were talking about it too much and I didn’t seem to notice that there is a problem. It is how it is, right? Why should we question every natural human process? Society made feminism sound as a crazy movement of crazy women who basically look like an ugly man and their main goal is to end mankind … I mean, mankind is humanity, right? Correction … and their main goal is to fight against man and nature. This is how feminism and fight for women’s rights sounded to me.

I will come back to this perception of feminism.

The following year will be the year of my graduation. I study sociology and since I am ending my bachelor I had to think of a good topic for my thesis. Since I remember I wanted to do things differently, add a bit more, do it a unique way and I had the same goal for my thesis. Long story short, I really didn’t want to write about women rights because this is really not new problem and the topic had been discussed from every point of view. But never say never, and there I was, reflecting on my life as a woman. I think this was the first time I really start seeing the huge problem in gender equality. My thinking process went back to the primary school and to the teenage era, when the hormones start to kick in and boys and girls starts to turn into men and women. It is a crucial time for both genders. In this writing I will only apply on two genders – male and female, even though we know more. This period of time was also full of examples of sexual harassment between fellow classmates. Boys were chasing girls and were touching them without their consent. This was everyday experience that went by without any visible consequences. If anyone complained to the authority, it was explained as normal. I even asked my mother a while ago if I said anything about what was happening or if they were bringing up this issue on the parents meeting. I didn’t and they didn’t. I also asked my female and male friends what they think about it now. Responses were very similar but based on the gender. My female friends were disgusted by it and were starting to share their stories and their view on the problem back then and now. We figured that we, ourselves, didn’t do much about it when this was happening, I don’t think we even took it as seriously as we should. I remember hitting a boy back after he touched me and he hit me back so hard I didn’t consider to answer like this ever again. Then, there were my male friends I was discussing my topic with. They were making a bit of fun out of me at first, calling me feminist but then we discussed the problem of sexual harassment from their point of view. I got very interesting responses which did surprise me. It was not them feeling sorry for what they were doing, it was more like blaming it on young girls for dressing the way they did and for wanting it anyway. It was also one comment about how they couldn’t handle themselves. They saw growing breasts and they just had to touch them and gosh, internet and porn sites were not available back then. I really wonder if this changes much.

The topic I chose for my bachelor thesis is Reproduction of sexism – example of intergenerational sexual harassment in primary school. From the early age women are being put in their place, and this is one way of doing it. I believe there is no women that was not somehow sexually harassed. One more interesting point I saw in this playful sexual harassment in primary school is how, for the girl, it was lose – lose situation. It was bad if you were part of it and it was also bad if you were not. But in the end, boys were the one choosing in which category you belong. When I came up with the topic, I also got a comment, well, at least you know you are a good one. I guess I should be thankful for that.

My thesis topic seems very light and not important for most people. It is hard to understand that seemingly playful sexual harassment could be anything more than it is – but it is. It is so much more and it is a very effective way reproducing sexism. With only this, girls are taught who has the power. Even the power of their own body. We are being objectified and we are being silenced.

Remember how I said I never called myself a feminist. Now I do. Also my male friend thinks it’s funny to call me like that. But it is fine by me, since we are discussing this issue, I am at least raising awareness. They don’t call themselves feminist, even though they believe in gender equality. Feminism has become an ugly word nobody wants identify with. What we forget is that this was a strong movement that got women where we are now. It is very easy to forget that women were not considered as equal in public space not that very long ago. There have been lots of sacrifices of women who fought for equality we have today here, in western society. But surprise, surprise, as I said feminism has become an ugly word. Why? Because let’s stop that madness of gender equality. Be a lady for god sake.

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There is a huge difference between not wanting to be something and being socialised into not wanting something. Women were kept out of public space for most of the history and even now, women do not go easily into, let’s say, politics. I remember one article about, how pictures of decision making events, would look like if men would be photoshopped out of it.  What do you think, how many people would be left on the picture? Very few, the room ends up to be almost empty.

YS Gender

Gender

Population of the world is pretty much equal – fifty fifty of each gender, but there is only half of the population making decisions for everybody. This doesn’t seem right. I think the world would be much different if it would be led by men and women equally, because we do have our differences. Tough, none of those differences are bad, they just are different. I can give you very practical experience on this. Right now I am part of the project Women of the Resistance and my part of the job is to have workshops with high school students. Above other things, we are discussing about the resistance and what would they, high school students, resist against/for today. They are working in the groups and usually they create groups based of gender. So we have a group of boys and a group of girls discussing about one topic. If I compare all of the groups I had and not even from the same school, the results were that boys usually raised awareness about different topic than girls. This exactly is my point, they both raised questions about important but different topic and they were both right. With excluding women from decision making process we are basically making it worse for all of us, because we don’t see the whole picture. We are only solving half of the problems.

I still consider myself very lucky being born at this time in this place and this space even as a woman – thanks to the women who fought for women’s rights. I can speak up about this issue and I can fight for gender equality. We are not there yet and this issue is very important. World needs women’s voice too.

Author: Špela Vučajnk

What do you stand for ? Share with us your opinion on http://bit.ly/YSmovement

 

Why the Sustainable Development Goals are relevant to all of us

Being part of the international youth-driven organisation AIESEC, you want to have impact on people’s lives and become a citizen of the world in every sense. The reason why United Nations is relevant to all of us is that the one thing that connects all AIESEC’ers: we like to engage people. By giving them the opportunity to undertake a voluntary or professional internship, young people embark on a journey in which they gain cultural comprehension and participate in projects that contribute to equality, human rights and democracy, cooperation in trade and education and economic empowerment.

The Millennium Development Goals were an ambitious set of eight incentives, ranging from eradicating world hunger to achieving environmental sustainability, agreed upon by all member states of the United Nations in 2000, as world leaders were convinced that the “time for global action” had come. The MDG Summit “launched important aid initiatives and generated unprecedented agreement by Member States on the importance of human rights in efforts to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, as Mac Darrow states in his article The Millennium Development Goals: Milestones or Millstones? Human Rights Priorities for the Post-2015 Agenda. The aim of the 2000 agenda was to reach the objectives by 2015 to be followed-up by the sustainable development goals.

Remarkable achievements regarding some of the Millennium Development objectives included in the 2000 MDG agenda have changed the lives of many people. The eradication of hunger and extreme poverty, defined in the goals as people living on less than $1,25 per day, has been the most successful achievement as the MDGs as 1 billion people now have better living conditions than 15 years ago. Moreover, today more girls than ever are in school which proves that there has been an unprecedented effort to achieve universal primary education and to promote gender equality.

“Yet for all the remarkable gains, I am keenly aware that inequalities persist and that progress has been uneven”, declared the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon in the Millennium Development Goals Reportissued in 2015. In addition, many voices, among which human rights activists, NGOs and public opinion, have pointed out the fact that many objectives remain ideals written on paper and not carried out in the field. For example, the gap between the rich and the poor is expanding worldwide and moreover, much has to be done to combat climate change and to create sustainable cities and urban development as these affect the poorest most.

“Yet for all the remarkable gains, I am keenly aware that inequalities persist and that progress has been uneven” – Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon

In a call for continued endeavour by all the UN member states towards a better world for all, Ban Ki-moon emphasized that “[e]xperiences and evidence from the efforts to achieve the MDGs demonstrate that we know what to do. But further progress will require an unswerving political will, and collective, long-term effort”. Especially in the light of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations proclaims that global actors among which nation states, NGOs and international institutions must show the durable commitment to implement the 17 newly adopted goals set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As a the largest NGO worldwide, AIESEC should and will aim to improve people’s live in many ways: by transforming remarkable AIESEC’ers into responsible future leaders, by encouraging youngsters to live diversity and to act sustainably, and above all by continuing to engage in projects that improve the lives of people.

Will you be part of this story?

Join the movement today on www.aiesec.si/youthspeak

Education: Taken not Given

How your voice can address youth unemployment

Young people are graduating unprepared to succeed in a world of rapidly changing socioeconomic times demanding new skills and behaviours. Systematic youth unemployment is robbing nations of their human potential. How will we change the systems that develop our youth and enable them to live more productive and fulfilling lives?

In an International Labour Organization (ILO) report on 2015 employment trends, it found that the outlook for global employment will deteriorate in the coming five years. Over 201 million were unemployed in 2014 around the world, over 31 million more than before the start of the global crisis. And, global unemployment is expected to increase by 3 million in 2015 and by a further 8 million in the following four years. Youth, especially young women, continue to be disproportionately affected by unemployment. Almost 74 million young people (aged 15–24) were looking for work in 2014. The youth unemployment rate is practically three times higher than is the case for their adult counterparts. The heightened youth unemployment situation is common to all regions and is occurring despite the trend improvement in educational attainment, thereby fuelling social discontent.

Despite rising educational enrollments and attainment, how do we address the fact that young people leave their educational years with the lack of employment readiness, to find productive and quality employment.

Across the world, education remains the #1 priority of young people as found in the UN My World survey of 7M+ youth, and our live YouthSpeak survey of 35K respondents. Education is perhaps the most prioritize issue because of the significant time and investments needed to acquire a degree, and the lack of value connected to education supporting their youth employment outlook. Education is essential to the development of a society, but the output of the experience is currently not fully aligned with the realities of a modern world that demands a whole new set of skills.

We need young people to voice their opinions if we are to shape the future of youth development, redefine education systems and align the needs of employers, youth and education. This is the lack week of our Global YouthSpeak survey and not too far away from our goal of 50K.

You can join this global youth movement and help shape the future of youth development by adding your voice to our Thunderclap to launch #YouthSpeak day below.

Take the Global YouthSpeak survey: Click here

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

We’ve been talking a lot about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) or the “global goals,” in 2015, and we’ve taken information from sources like the United Nations and The Guardian to help you summarize the SDG’s briefly.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. The SDGs follow, and expand on, the millennium development goals (MDGs), which were agreed by governments in 2000, and are due to expire at the end of this year.

What are the proposed 17 goals?

1) End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2) End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

3) Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

4) Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

6) Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

7) Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

8) Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all

9) Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation

10) Reduce inequality within and among countries

11) Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12) Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13) Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

14) Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15) Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss

16) Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

17) Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

Within the goals are a proposed 169 targets, to put a bit of meat on the bones. Proposed targets under goal one, for example, include reducing by at least half the number of people living in poverty by 2030, and eradicating extreme poverty (people living on less than $1.25 a day). Under goal five, there’s a proposed target on eliminating violence against women. Under goal 16 sits a target to promote the rule of law and equal access to justice.

How were the goals chosen?
Unlike the MDGs, which were drawn up by a group of men in the basement of UN headquarters (or so the legend goes), the UN has conducted the largest consultation programme in its history to gauge opinion on what the SDGs should include.

Establishing post-2015 goals was an outcome of the Rio+20 summit in 2012, which mandated the creation of an open working group to come up with a draft set.

The open working group, with representatives from 70 countries, had its first meeting in March 2013 and published its final draft, with its 17 suggestions, in July 2014. The draft was presented to the UN general assembly in September.

Alongside the open working group, the UN conducted a series of “global conversations”, which included 11 thematic and 83 national consultations, and door-to-door surveys. It also launched an online My World survey asking people to prioritise the areas they’d like to see addressed in the goals. The results of the consultations should have fed into the the working group’s discussions.

Is the number of goals expected to change?
Those who have been involved in the process say no, although they do expect fewer targets. Many of the proposed targets are more political statement than measurable achievement at the moment.

In his synthesis report on the SDGs in December, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon gave no hint that he would like to see the number of goals reduced. In a bid to help governments to frame the goals, Ban clustered them into six “essential elements”: dignity, prosperity, justice, partnership, planet, people.

Amina Mohammed, the UN secretary general’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning, said it had been a hard fight to get the number of goals down to 17, so there would be strong resistance to reduce them further.

Member states will begin formal discussions on the content of the SDGs on 19 January, and are expected to meet each month until September. Any serious faultlines should be evident over the next three to four months.

How will the goals be funded?
That’s the trillion-dollar question. Rough calculations from the intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing have put the cost of providing a social safety net to eradicate extreme poverty at about $66bn a year, while annual investments in improving infrastructure (water, agriculture, transport, power) could be up to a total of $7t trillion globally.

In its report last year, the committee said public finance and aid would be central to support the implementation of the SDGs. But it insisted that money generated from the private sector, through tax reforms, and through a crackdown on illicit financial flows and corruption was also vital.

When will the new goals come into force?

If member states agree the draft set of 17 SDGs at a UN summit in New York in September, they will become applicable from January 2016. The expected deadline for the SDGS is 2030.

What is AIESEC doing about this?

Young people will be the people who implement and carry these goals over the next 15 years, and this is why we need to engage them on these issues today. At the same time, we need to help decision makers understand what the global youth opinion is, and how we can work together to address these issues. Young people must understand the depth of these goals and how they will impact our lives and our common future.

In response of this youth focus around the post-2015 process, we recognised that more useful youth data was missing to help decision makers. So we launched YouthSpeak, a global youth movement and insight survey to help address some of the biggest challenges our generation is facing today. Global youth employment and education is a major topic, it is also two of the top three issues in the United Nations MyWorld survey answered by over 7 million youth. We are trying to answer how we can improve and address the education to employment journey and will include topics such as the future of education, transforming the workplace, entrepreneurship, and generation Y & Z. These insights will be collected from over 50,000 respondents across 100 countries and territories to help shape the youth opinions of youth around the age of 18-25 on their hopes and challenges in reaching their potential.

Through 2015, we will be attending high-level United Nations events, representing young people to employers and leaders, and inspiring millions of young people on pressing global issues and giving them a global platform to tackle them through our programmes likeGlobal Citizen and Global Talent. We will take all the 50,000 opinions and consolidate it into a global youth opinion report in July and utilize it to inform decision makers, leaders and young people on where we are today and where we need to go. The General Assembly in September isn’t too far, and this is why we you to take action now, we cannot wait for another generation to create this change.

Let your voice be heard and ensure that your youth opinion will be heard by decision makers. Take the YouthSpeak survey here.

To learn more about the SDG’s, you can view an interactive map here

Ban Ki Moon YouthSpeak

Why the world needs cross-cultural education

I speak for purposeful education and cross-cultural dialogue.

Now it is popular to say that we are living in the 21st century which is full of different technologies and media. In some of the countries it is easy to get access to the internet but yet we still have a poor knowledge about the world in which we live, despite all of these new technologies.

I love that I’m working in AIESEC — an  organisation that breaks cultural stereotypes and barriers.

I started to think more and more about the lack of the open information when I was preparing for myAIESEC internship in Indonesia. The first thing that I have discovered is that most people get to know other countries through traveling during vacations. It is sad that some people think that Bali is a separate country, not the one of many Indonesian islands. They don’t know about beautiful Indonesia itself, which is full of traditions, culture and history.

I was a lucky child. At the age of 22 I have been to 23 countries and I really got to know that our world is full of stereotypes. And of course I knew how many people had funny things to stereotype about Russia.

But let’s go deeper into the roots. Why are we lacking good relationships between countries? I believe that people were born the same, with the same rights and opportunities. Why should we hate each other? We are all living in the same place — our amazing planet Earth.

Sometimes people are lacking information and mass media plays a bad game with it.

I think that a lot of you heard about what happened between Russia and Ukraine this spring. At exactly the same time I was volunteering in Indonesia and telling stories about my country to the school’s students. I was so far from my country but it was really painful to hear questions from the people: “Will you have a war soon?”.

Our country has a rich history, but it is full of wars and conflicts and at the same time full of great and world-famous artists and painters, musicians and scientists.

My great-granddad fought in the second World war. My mom and dad were just little kids when the war has started. My mum and dad gave birth to me in the messy 90’s in Russia, when it was hard to find any food and clothes because of the economic crisis.

Sometimes it seems to me that there was no generation in Russia that was not suffering from external wars and internal crises. I want to live happily and I want to live in my country, because I`m proud of it, of people here.

I do believe that cross-cultural understanding is the key and the fundamental thing to live in a peaceful world.

While we are striving to send people abroad and to show how much it’s worth to see the world and to love your country at the same time, we have lots of media writing weird things that support only the stereotypes. The opinions of media writers are not the opinion of every person in the country.

I speak up for the open cross-cultural dialog, because we were not born to hate each other. I believe that our world’s future depends on the human ability and willingness to collaborate with each other.

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Here’s a short story from my internship with AIESEC in Indonesia. While I was giving some lessons about Russia, I always started with the question — what do you know about my home country? I was lucky if I had 2–3 answers – something like Moscow is the capital, it is cold there and that was it. Meanwhile I’m not sure that kids would have been able to find it on a map. And I’m not blaming them. It just was not important for them.

As soon as I returned from the internship, I went to a Russian school in Saint Petersburg to tell the pupils about my internship. I was asking them: “Can you imagine that Indonesian children don`t know anything about Russia?” They were laughing. I wasn’t laughing at all. My next question was:  “So do you know the capital or anything about life in Indonesia?” Silence was an answer for me. Just a few guilty smiles because they didn’t know.

I’m not blaming them either. I didn’t know all this before going on the internship. So what is the aim of our educational systems in the world?

Only a small amount of students understand the importance of learning different languages and cultures, but soon it will be the only way to live because of globalization.

I wasn’t learning such things at school or in university. I’m thankful for my family for giving me such an opportunity and I’m happy that there are still so many countries to get to know.

Remember that you can only get completely trustworthy information from your personal experiences, not from the media. If you are lacking cross-cultural knowledge now — it is your time to go on exchange!

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As long as our educational systems are not providing the relevant knowledge and skills, I will speak up for the purposeful education and cross-cultural dialog in order to have a peaceful world.

Kate Trofimova, 22, Russia

Let your voice be heard and voice your opinion on how we can improve youth development in the #YouthSpeak survey!

Take the Global YouthSpeak survey: http://bit.ly/YSmovement

The Value of Purpose-Driven Leaders

The world doesn’t need more profit-driven leaders, but purpose-driven leaders who can solve real world issues.

“The key challenge for business is how do we get more purpose-driven leaders that realise they are there to make a difference in the world”, said Bill George of Harvard Business School at The World Economic Forum, which took place in Davos again this year.

dbpix-george-blog480“The pressures are greater today than they’ve ever been on CEOs to produce short-term results but it’s really not about that. It’ about having a company that’s going to solve actual social problems through the work the company does and that requires a company with commitment to purpose throughout the entire organisation.”

In a highly globalised world we live in today facing numerous challenges, purpose is what unites people to work towards a common future. To have purpose is to give meaning to the goals we are striving to achieve together. Purposeful and meaningful work is becoming more and more important worldwide. According to Youth Speak, the global millennial insight survey, young people rated meaningful work as the 2nd most important factor in the first 5 years of their career.

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Additionally, 72% of Youth Speak‘s 25,000 youth respondents across over 100 countries believe that it is important for companies to positively impact society. Although the definition of “positive impact” varies, data shows that Generation Y demands companies to have meaningful contribution to society and not solely generate profit without purpose.

Many companies worldwide recognize the significance of meaningful contribution to issues that affect society today. A PR Newswire article highlights the findings of the global research, which was launched at The World Economic Forum by Ernst & Young and Oxford. One of the findings states “Corporate leaders see the organization’s role evolving to address global challenges, taking an active role in creating well-being and value for and with a wider set of stakeholders.”

However, the findings also show that while businesses recognize the importance of purpose for driving core strategies and operations, they also “acknowledge there is a gap between this recognition and the policy and practice in their organizations.” (source)

Therefore, we are back to the question posed by Mr. Bill George of Harvard Business School:

How do we get more purpose-driven leaders who can act on the purpose?

AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-led organisation, believes the answer lies in providing young people with practical leadership experiences. By engaging in a challenging environment designed to test them, push them and shape them, young people are given the chance to try and the freedom to fail. Members of AIESEC are given the chance to engage and learn across different cultures and geographies–enabling young people to connect with different types of living and working while contributing to the development of their peers. In turn, enabling the young person to connect with issues that matter to them while being considerate of the global nature of many of today’s issues and make more sustainable decisions.

Learning by doing leaves the most powerful impact and allows first-hand discovery of what you are good at, what you are not good at and what really matters to you. Self-awareness developed by learning through trial and error is a first step to realizing your own potential and your unique contribution to the world.

So do you know how can you contribute?

We need leaders who see the bigger picture and understand the importance of creating meaningful contributions to building a better world. The development of more purpose-driven leaders is a step towards building a more sustainable future and you have a chance to become one of these purposeful leaders. How will you move our world forward?

Share with us your opinion on http://bit.ly/YSmovement

 

Thoughts on improving education from a Harvard professor

The Education sector is a fundamental pillar of society, but it has been unable to keep up pace with rapid changes in the way society functions. Key trends surrounding the internet economy, youth unemployment, digital skills, new learning methods and entrepreneurship has continued to disrupt the education space.

YouthSpeak has activated thousands of young people to speak up on how we can improve education, but we couldn’t do it without experts. Mark Esposito, Professor Business and Economics at Grenoble School of Management and Harvard University weighs in.

1. Q: How should the education system evolve or look like in 2020 to meet the needs of the future?

Education should become closer to the needs of employers and capable of capturing those trends that are currently in the making, but have not become visible yet. Rather than developing skills for a reflection of a world of the past, education should prepare students to think critically about the “emerging paradigm” rather than the emerged one. It should also allow people to build confidence in taking risks and generate new ventures rather than providing a false sense of security by sharing models that worked in the past but are now obsolete or saturated.

Think critically about the “emerging paradigm”, rather than the emerged one.

2. Q: Is there anything that worries you about young people today and the way they are spending their time and developing themselves?

There is a lot of futility in the way youth spend time today. Social media has become a surrogate of our own lives and I’m worried about the amount of time that youth spend in interacting virtually, rather than building real people networks, conversations, real bonds. This also leads me to fear of an unfocused generation, unable to understand that the world in front of them is far from being an idealistic place and the grounds are shifting more rapidly than what we have ever experienced in our modern history. If there is a time where togetherness needs to serve the purpose of society, it is now more than yesterday!

Build real people networks, conversations and real bonds.

3. Q: What is the one thing you would tell yourself if yourself in your early twenties?

In my early twenties I was obsessed in how I could create an impact and how my actions should serve a greater purpose. I have never stopped thinking it, even today.

In summary, Mark advocates for an education system that can empower a young person to think critically about what’s the come in the future as opposed to preparing for the existing one. Mentioning that our generation (millennials) may suffer from our inability to focus in a hyper-connected world full of distractions that are one click away. The fact that most of you reading this are your twenties, yields a lesson to start thinking about how your actions will serve a greater purpose than yourself.

You can reach Mark on Twitter at @exp_mark and share your opinions with us via #YouthSpeak

Take the Global YouthSpeak survey: http://bit.ly/YSmovement

Reaching your fullest potential

I speak up for reaching your fullest potential.

 

Millions of young people’s voices are not heard in the societies they live in and are never given a real chance. I am a part of the #YouthSpeak movement that seeks to influence societal leaders to listen to the fundamental needs of young people to reach their fullest potential, and design better educational systems that match the needs of the newer generation.

Like most young people out there, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, let alone who I even was. My family originates from Hong Kong, and they moved to Vancouver, Canada so my sister and I could have a better life in a country where we have one of the highest standard’s of living in the world.

I was lucky. Very lucky. Throughout my last few years in AIESEC, I have been able to see the world and truly what a world’s difference it makes depending where you are simply born. Truthfully, it isn’t very fair. But the beauty is that we only inherit a starting fate, but not our end destiny.

And that is where your story and my story comes into the picture.

I was never confident about myself. I grew up afraid, nervous and shy about the world. What I witnessed in Canada was an extremely comfortable lifestyle. A life where almost everything is available to you, and you are blessed with an excellent education and welfare system. You can’t go wrong. But because of this luxury, people and especially young people grow up lazy and complacent. Their greater purpose in life is never ignited.

Entering university, I was a lost and confused boy. But where my true story begins is the day I joined AIESEC. It took me a year to realize what I had in front of me before my passion turned on and my ambitions accelerated a lightyear ahead. Within AIESEC, I saw the world and most importantly, I saw myself.

But why is this? Why was I the fortunate one to experience such “a-ha” moments that made me reach so high with my potential? I want EVERYONE to get this “a-ha” moment where they realize that their destiny’s are not controlled by anyone else but themselves.

This is why I’m passionate about launching YouthSpeak here at AIESEC, and I feel humbled to be able to lead this movement. It is a global youth movement aimed to spotlight the millions of unheard stories of everyday leaders. My mission here is to provide young people with a beacon of hope, a light not at the end of the tunnel, but at the beginning so they can see their way through the entire time.

My hope for YouthSpeak is a movement where every young person can voice what they care about in the world, share their story and inspire millions of young people to do the same.

Because we cannot accomplish everything along and it requires the collective actions of all of you. Share your voice on what you stand for so people can listen to you and make change happen.

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD.

Join the movement. #YouthSpeak

Take the Global YouthSpeak survey: https://fluidsurveys.com/s/youthspeak_movement/

How Young People See The World & How We Will Fix It

Our Viewpoint: How Young People See The World & How We Will Fix It

There’s a simple process that young person in the United States must go through in order to become employed. Attend an accredited university, get an undergraduate degree, snag a internship, and the company hosting said internship will offer you a job. A master’s degree could be tossed in the middle, but otherwise this formula has been the tried and true method for the past few generations. In 2014, however, most graduating students can’t say that this is the truth. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the unemployment rate for college graduates is 8.5 percent and the underemployment rate is 16.8 percent.

There are a variety of reasons for how we got to this stage. A broken education system that’s leaving students out to dry along with the tumultuous economy that has a 7.8 million job deficit can be to blame. The common sentiment that we millennials are lazy and entitled is both ungrounded and uncalled for. Generation Y was handed a dying world with a lot of scars and we see fit to make it better. We’re fighting now, more than ever, to be able to make a sustainable world in which getting a job doesn’t require three decades of schooling and contributing to a national student loan debt surpassing one trillion dollars. This is the fight that my peers and I believe in.

In 2000 — when most of us were still deciding which crayon to use on our next masterpiece — world leaders came together to create the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs in short). We’ve seen major improvement since the goals were introduced, but there’s still much more work to be done. There’s a stark difference between the plight of college students in North America and the ubiquitous image of children — starving and pestilent— in a less economically developed country. But there’s a key solution for both: strategic action. It’s not enough anymore to just sit and think or act blindy. There must be data-driven actions that can bond the youth of this world so that we can move forwards together — solving world hunger using improvements in employment and education.

This is why I believe in YouthSpeak, a youth insight survey powered by AIESEC. YouthSpeak’s goal can be simply stated as such: to collect real insights from youth about the way we live our lives and the issues we face as a generation. With  responses from over 125 countries, this survey has tremendous potential for impact.

The world isn’t getting any simpler, but with the right insights we can make a more clear picture of the madness. I believe in a United States that listens to the needs of it’s people and takes strides to fix the broken systems that ail it’s youth. That’s why I believe in the power of surveys like YouthSpeak.

Take The Survey: http://aiesec.si/youthspeak/

YouthSpeak is powered by AIESEC — the world’s largest youth-operated organization with offices in 125 countries and territories. AIESEC’s volunteer membership of over 90,000 facilitates 28,000+ international internship and volunteer programs annually.

7 Facts about Millennials worldwide

Millennials are perhaps the most educated generation in all of human history, yet they face startling challenges in fulfillment, employment and making good life decisions. With the rapid rise of technology and intensity of globalization, the challenges millennials face today are unprecedented.

In a Deloitte report, millennials globally will make up 75% of the total workforce by 2025. It brings us to a key question of how businesses will integrate millennial talent.

Often coined the “me or selfie generation,” millennials are often positioned as “lazy, entitled, and narcissistic.”But there are always two sides to the story, and we believe that understanding millennials is the first step to creating constructive action to better help millennials develop more effectively, get employed, live fulfilled lives, and make a positive difference on society.

Here are some statistics from our first global YouthSpeak survey in 2013 before we relaunched this year.

Sample statistics on Millennials from YouthSpeak 2013 survey, with 25,000 respondents in 100 countries

  • Entrepreneurs are identified as the key role-models for millennials
  • Passion is the most desired trait in leaders
  • 80.5% stated that a company’s CSR affects their interest in working at a company
  • 68% stated that a company’s CSR affects their decisions in buying their products
  • Quality of Education and Corruption are the top two issues millennials care about
  • To make a greater impact on the world, millennials stated self-awareness, “getting to know more about themselves and what they stand for” is most important
  • Information gap: lack of understanding, information and awareness is what stops millennials from acting upon what they are passionate about

Millennials today are growing up, and increasingly having a say in the way society is run. Purpose-driven, socially-conscious, tech-savvy and entrepreneurial. Millennials are destined to shake up society and business for the better.

By understanding what motivates millennials globally, it will enable us to help others address social issues that surround the millennial generation.

Represent your country or territory in global youth voice and influence the UN post-2015 sustainable development goals.

Take the Global YouthSpeak survey: bit.ly/youthspeakmovement